4/4 Strumming Techniques

Author: Bill McRea

If you are learning how to play the guitar, the basic 4/4 strumming technique is one of the first guitar playing techniques that you must be able to master. This is usually used by beginners to hone their guitar skills and get the feel of the instrument. In learning the basic 4/4 guitar strumming, you must be knowledgeable about the different basic requirements for guitar playing:


Guitar strumming is basically composed of two different strokes: the downward stroke and the upward stroke.

The downward stroke is done by drawing the picking hand (usually, this is the right hand) from the uppermost string down to the other side. The upward stroke is the opposite of the downward stroke.

Finger placing

When reading guitar instructional materials, the fingers are usually assigned numbers. The left-hand fingers are numbered from 1 to 4: the index finger is numbered as 1, the middle finger is numbered as 2, the ring finger is number 3 and the little finger is 4. This numbering is important to remember because tablatures show a beginner how to form chords by placing the fingers properly on the fret board.

The fingers of the left hand are supposed to be placed near the succeeding fret bar to ensure that you get quality sounding vibration from the strings. You must remember not to stress your fingers when pressing the frets.


If are playing the guitar by reading notes, you can refer to the beat shown near the clef sign to determine if the song should be played with a 4/4 beat as this is what you call the time signature. The time signature looks like a fraction when written in musical notation, the upper number tells one how many beats there are in one measure and the bottom number indicates what kind of note will receive one beat.


In learning the basic 4/4 guitar strumming, one can use the different chord families when practicing. One of the most popular chord patterns used in practicing this particular technique is the D-A-G-A chord pattern. It’s very popular because the chord patterns are easy to remember and very easy to perform.

You must first memorize the placement of the fingers on the fret board to be able to do the chords. This can take some time and beginners must be patient. Learning the guitar takes time and dedication and cannot be done overnight.

When you are able to master the chords, you should practice doing the chords one after the other, and this is where the 4/4 strumming comes in. In strumming the guitar in a 4/4 rhythm, you should count 1-2-3-4 repeatedly for each chord and shift to the next chord as you repeat the count. You can use downward strokes for each chord when you begin and then practice strumming the chords upward and then downward-upward.

A beginner will almost always find that the left hand is left out when practicing strumming because the fact is that the fingers are still adjusting to doing the chords properly. It will take time and a lot of practice to do the 4/4 strumming technique but it will be worth it.

When the left hand is being left out, you must not stop the right hand and wait for the left hand to form the chord patterns. Be consistent in your counting and strumming to prevent the right hand from becoming slower and train the left hand to be faster in forming the chord patterns.

After you become comfortable doing the 4/4 strumming technique with the D-A-G-A chord pattern, then shift into doing other chord patterns such as C-E-F-G or G-C-F-G. Opt to learn the different chords and familiarize your fingers with forming them. Learning the chords and strumming should be done simultaneously which will allow you to be able to learn at a much faster rate and understand the mechanics behind playing the guitar.

You must remember that the guitar is an instrument of passion and you cannot be a guitar expert in one night. There are many things that you must learn about the guitar to truly appreciate the beauty of the instrument.

Bill McRea is the publisher of Guitar Warehouse the best place to Buy Guitar and learn Guitar Playing Techniques. Both sites offer free lesson and product sales.

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